Here's an excerpt from a book (title and author's name at the end of the post) which points out the differences in the views of the two sub-schools of advaita, namely bhamati and vivarna, whether scriptural knowledge is sufficient for the realization of Brahman or something more is needed.

While the Vivarna is of the view that the study of the scriptures is capable in itself of leading to the Realization of the true nature of Brahman, the Bhamati (on the other hand) holds that the study of the scriptures leads only to the intellectual comprehension of Brahman and not to the realization of Its true nature.

It further says,

According to Bhamati there is no injunction for the realization of Brahman. Contrarily, the Vivarna views that sravana has been enjoined along with manana and nididhyasana for the intuition of Brahman.

Isn't there a contradiction in the views of Vivarna? In the first part of my quoted text, vivarna holds that scriptural knowledge is sufficient for the realization of Brahman and no other methods are necessary but in the latter part of my quoted text, vivarna holds onto the view that one has to go through all the 3 methods (sravana, manana and nididhyasana) for the realization of Brahman.

The last method which is nididhyasana isn't scriptural study. Instead nididhyasana is the repetation of the mahavakyas, which is almost like chanting or japa.

So my question is, is there really a contradiction in the views of Vivarna?

Why would Vivarna first give importance only to knowledge heard/learned from the scriptures (sravana) for Brahman realization and reject the last two (manana and nididhyasana) ... and later say that all 3 are necessary for the intuition of Brahman?

(Source: extracts taken from page 254 of the google sample preview of the book "Bhamati and Vivarna schools of Advaita Vedanta : A Critical Approach" by Pulasth Soobah Roodurmum.)

  • First, your question has multiple questions and 'asking for your thoughts' is asking for opinions. See forum rules. Second, there is no injunction on either school. It is unnecessary argumentation by 'scholars' which, in analysis, is simply over-interpretion -- not that scholars ever do that. Their whole argument circles about what is meant by 'knowledge'. They try and interpret it to mean reading and memorization, which it is not. Knowledge of the scriptures means 'understanding'. As you point out the use of the word 'sravana' - which means can be used in the sense of... Mar 31, 2022 at 6:41
  • hearing, studying from a qualified teacher, qualified meaning realized. It does not mean scholastic reading and studying. Mar 31, 2022 at 6:43
  • Could you elaborate what you mean by "understanding" or "qualified meaning realized"? ... Is it an intellectual realization of things learned from a guru ... or a mystical/samadhi type realization? Mar 31, 2022 at 7:54
  • Nidhidhyasana is not repetation of the Mahavakyas. Apr 1, 2022 at 3:31
  • @PradipGangopadhyay Could you please explain what nididhyasana is and how it is practiced? Thanks. Its always great to hear your answers :) Apr 1, 2022 at 9:45

1 Answer 1


Mundaka Upanishad III.ii.3 -

This Atman is not to be attained by the study of the Vedas, nor by the highest intellect, nor by much learning. Whom the Atman seeks, he gets the Atman; unto him He discloses His glory.

Sankara says that the one thing needed is hankering - a yearning - for God. All the 'steps' that you read are only for those without a true hankering and are meant to foster that true hankering in them. The Atman seeks him who hankers after Him. The Lord will seek you if you have a true hankering.

Wiki is not a scriptural source.

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